Several decades since its independence, CAR continues to be confronted with endless conflicts. In December 2012 when Séléka who had an Islamic background (meaning ‘alliance’ in the local Sango rebel coalition) launched a series of attacks. The attack could be overcome by the signing of a “Libreville Agreement” peace agreement in January 2013. However, the peace agreement did not fully go well. This can be seen in the presence of insurgent rebels in Bangui (capital city on CAR). In March 2013, President-elect François Bozizé was forced to be rushed from the capital for fear that the uprising evolved into an open conflict. In December 2013, the uprising continued to grow and increase. This is marked by the formation of Anti-Balaka group that has a Christian background. The group launched attacks and clashes between Séléka and Anti-Balaka continued in Bangui as well as in other areas (www.minusca.unmissions.org).
The growing conflicts make state institutions experiencing instability. It also makes millions of people starve and the onset of various diseases that can spread throughout the CAR. This conflict has killed thousands of lives and 2.5 million people, some of the CAR population was forced to evacuate and need humanitarian assistance from the government and external parties. As of March 2014, more than 600,000 people fled to other safer areas. As many as 70,000 people live in refugee camps near the airport in the capital Bangui. More than 370,000 people fled to Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, and Chad. So much attention from the international community continues to be aimed at the CAR crisis such as the United Nations, as well as other international and regional actors including the African Union (AU), European Union (EU), France and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). They provide assistance to find a peaceful settlement of conflicts, protect civilians, and provide humanitarian assistance to communities in the CAR (www.minusca.unmissions.org).
MISCA faces an emergency situation related to a number of capacity issues. Faced with the lack of an integrated command structure and the selection competition between the security guards is very strict. The public increasingly distrusted MISCA and considered negative because the operations undertaken by MISCA failed to achieve the goal. Civil society assumes that MISCA cannot maintain security in CAR. According to some political observers and conflict observers, the MISCA commander, General Mokoko, did not fully understand the country’s political dynamics (Carayannis and Fowlis, 2015: 324).
In 2013, amid a worsening situation, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon took the initiative to call for UN intervention in the CAR conflict. the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in November 2013, submits a report to UNSC on the steps to be taken concerning UN involvement in the CAR. Under UNSC’s decision, the UN Secretary-General will send an assessment team in early 2014, which recommends the establishment of peacekeeping operations. DPKO received instructions from UNSC that the transfer of authority would take nine months to enable DPKO to improve the capabilities of the MISCA Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) and establish additional troops to overcome differences in numbers and strengths (Carayannis and Fowlis, 2015: 227).
The failure of the African Union (AU) in previous conflicts, one in Mali, made the UN Security Council more empowered to form a peacekeeping force in the CAR, named MINUSCA. Authorization is set in April 2014. Then, a year for MISCA placement, but with a ‘five-month’ preparation period for the transition of authority from MISCA to MINUSCA in September 2014. The UN Security Council transformed the AU’s MISCA into MINUSCA under UNSC Resolution 2149, with an official power of 12,000, and establishes 15 September 2014 as the date of official submission. Older forces like BINUCA who have weak leadership in carrying out their mandate, participate in MINUSCA in September 2014. In early 2015, the CAR hosted three international peacekeeping missions with the considerable international military presence (Carayannis and Fowlis, 2015: 324).
The process of handover of authority goes as expected. There are several teams established by the United Nations to launch peacekeeping operations conducted by peacekeeping troops. The UN deploys teams of experts, equipping them with military training and training civilians. In addition, there are political elements and cooperation undertaken by peacekeeping forces in the CAR to develop a strategy of political dialogue so that CAR rebels can participate in the dialogue and facilitate the process of conflict resolution (Carayannis and Fowlis, 2015: 324).
New national dialogue can only be implemented in 2015. Meetings in the town hall as well as consultations conducted, finally a general consensus was reached by organizing a forum called ‘Bangui Forum’. The Bangui forum was successfully implemented after previous initiatives supported and funded by the UN Central Peace Development Office (BONUCA) and other international partners have never been successfully implemented (Carayannis and Fowlis, 2015: 327).
After several delays, finally, on 4-11 May 2015, the Bangui Forum can be done. It can be concluded that there are improvements compared to previous national dialogue. This success is demonstrated by increased inclusiveness and consultation with women’s groups and other groups in the capital as well as outside the capital. One of the factors that demonstrated the success of the Bangui Forum is the direct participation of civil society (Carayannis and Fowlis, 2015: 339). The forum is said to have failed to handle the national reconciliation process effectively because the steps taken did not implement the recommended recommendations.
The challenge facing both the AU and the UN is to make the African contingent ready to carry out its duties and mission. These challenges include challenges of contingent mental readiness, equipment and exercise equipment, and functions that must be undertaken by the African contingent. The United Nations does not replace all African contingents, notably the Equatorial Guinea contingent and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as there are some concerns about it. MINUSCA deals with remaining troops from the Central African State Economic Community (ECCAS), who have been trained and in some cases like the DRC, have not been paid regularly. This makes it difficult for MINUSCA to enforce order and security. This is not surprising since the AU also never really affirmed full control over the troops inherited from ECCAS (www.tandfonline.com).
When complaints arose that selective treatment and the failure of MINUSCA to protect civilians, a report that emerged in early May 2014 on sexual exploitation and abuse of CAR children by French and international peacekeepers further tarnished the image of the mission. Shortly thereafter, a human rights officer at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and a staff member from the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) interviewed an 11-years-old boy giving specific details of his harassment at the hands of a French soldier. This is done to obtain evidence of sexual exploitation by MINUSCA (www.crin.org).
The OHCHR officer provided information to Renner Onana, Head of Human Rights and Justice for MINUSCA, on the details of the interview. However, there is no record or evidence that he has taken action to address it. OHCHR and UNICEF staff members continued to interview children, victims, reporting each incident to MINUSCA, further evidence demonstrating that sexual exploitation and abuse have been several weeks after the first report and during their investigation period in mid-June. A month later, the OHCHR officer report detailing the harassment, has spread to a number of UN staff members, one of whom shared with Mr. Anders Kompass, OHCHR Field Operations Director. Kompass informed the United Nations Secretary-General of the United Nations about it, leaking reports and details (www.crin.org).
The UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) began investigating Anders Kompass for leaking information that violated the protocol in September 2014. However, no steps were taken to determine the actual content of the report in response to evidence gathered by the OHCHR investigation. There is conjecture about the attempt to conceal disciplinary charges and procedures against Kompass over the next eight months when a number of civil society organizations issued a letter calling for UN transparency in response to reports of child sexual abuse and exploitation (www.crin.org). French prosecutors launched a criminal investigation into allegations of abuse of authority on May 7, 2015 (www.theguardian.com). Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon also finally announced plans for an independent external investigation into claims of abuse of authority (www.un.org).
The UN High-Level Independent Panel for Peace on 16 June 2015, recommends changes to ensure accountability of peacekeeping troops for sexual exploitation. Later, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon appointed a new panel to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation (www.un.org). On 12 August 2015, reports from local media confirmed that Babacar Gaye – CAR the UN Special Envoy – had been asked to resign. This is due to the many allegations of sexual abuse perpetrated by the MINUSCA peacekeepers. Then Human Rights Watch researchers informed about the case of a sexual exploitation in Bambari conducted by MINUSCA peacekeepers from the Republic of Congo and DRC. They were eventually sent back to their home country and dismissed as MINUSCA (www.bbc.com).
Throughout 2015, there have been more than 90 allegations of sexual exploitation reported to staff in various fields at the United Nations. Meanwhile, there are more than 70 similar cases that occurred in the CAR during 2014. The perpetrators of crimes of sexual harassment are UN peacekeepers under the auspices of the UN itself, MINUSCA (www.cnnindonesia.com). This sexual exploitation is a manifestation of the failure of the AU and the UN in carrying out its role in the peace mission within the CAR. The transition from MISCA to MINUSCA has not produced the expected results.